The Sunday evening service at IBV is usually the biggest of the week. Last night there was a great turn out for Trip, one of our team members, to share what the Lord is doing in his life these days. The church body responded well to his teaching, and several made renewed commitments to live for the Lord.
Today we got to visit several families in the Campo Novo (near Vila Nova) neighborhood. There are heartbreaking circumstances in many of the homes we visited, but the hope of Christ shines through in the midst of pain and suffering. It is neat to visit some of the same people over the years and watch the children grow and the Lord continue to transform lives.
We saw children doing their homework with the school supplies they were given through Share Christmas. We saw the building where IBV held their first service as well as the first building they first called home. We visited a lady from the church who has gone blind and has been unable to attend services for some time. We spent time in the home of a family whose husband/dad had recently been beaten nearly to death because of money he owed a drug dealer and will now live in a child-like, limited state because of extensive brain damage. We were given Fanta (yum!) by a shop owner and his wife who have resisted coming to the church but are always welcoming to the Pastor when he visits.
And this only begins to scratch the surface of the lives of the dear people with whom we interacted today. There is so much more to be learned about these men, women, and children, who are precious to our Lord and should be precious to us. Each story is unique and each heart needs the love of Christ. It's refreshing to see the ministry in Vila Nova and Campo Novo continue each day. Though the progress seems slow, the Lord is at work in this area. Each time I've gotten to visit, I can see homes in better condition, smiles on more children's faces, and hope in places that seem like they should be hopeless.
|Trip sharing his testimony at IBV's Sunday evening service|
|A number of people responded to the message preached.|
|We sorted out donated items to deliver to each church plant.|
|Pastor Magioli and Dona Maria (called Vozinha or Granny), one of the first believers in the community. Her home is next door to the building where IBV used to meet.|
|Bárbara embracing Dona Bárbara, the woman who has lost her sight and has been unable to attend services|
|The smiling faces of little girls who love getting their pictures taken and visiting with us|
|This little guy has been collecting all the different parts for a bicycle so he can build one himself. His dad is the one who is now suffering from extensive brain damage and won't be able to help with his bike project.|